Anthony DiCosmo knows what it’s like to belong
to a team. He’s played football on all levels,
from high school at nearby Paramus (NJ) Catholic
High School - where he was an All-American -
to a starring role as a wide receiver at Boston
College, and briefly with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While most athletes today thank God or some
higher power for their athletic achievements,
DiCosmo is grateful to his adoptive mother -
not for his ability - but for his opportunity.
DiCosmo was born to a teenage mother who was
unable to care for him. Petrina DiCosmo, then
65, took Anthony in as a foster child and after
overcoming several legal hurdles, adopted the
“Everything I’ve achieved in life is because
of my mom (Petrina),” DiCosmo said following
today’s afternoon practice session at Kean University
in Union, NJ. “Without her taking a chance on
me, I never would have achieved my goal of playing
professional football, and I wouldn’t be with
the XFL today. Young kids dream all the time,
but without strong parental support in the home,
their dreams can never be fulfilled. Mom believed
in me and showed me the love and guidance that
I needed growing up.”
DiCosmo is not alone. Petrina DiCosmo, now 81,
has fostered more than 65 children during her
lifetime, an example that has left a lasting
impression upon the wide receiver. DiCosmo spent
this past fall as a volunteer coach with the
nationally ranked Hackensack (NJ) High School
football team that finished undefeated and No.
1 in the state. In addition, he acts as a mentor
for underprivileged youths and speaks to youth
groups whenever possible.
Despite missing the HITMEN’s first mini-camp
in November, DiCosmo has drawn praise from offensive
coordinator Ron Calcagni for his ability to
pick up the nuances of the offense and for his
precise routes and sure hands during workouts.
“I’m living proof that it (achieving your dreams)
can be done,” DiCosmo said. “All you have to
do is set your goals and focus and don’t let
people tell you that you can’t do something.”
Although the freezing temperatures that were
forecasted for the New York/New Jersey area
did not materialize on Tuesday, head trainer
Keith Abrams could have used an ice pick, or
at least an extra heating pad before the morning
One of the student assistant trainers filled
the water supply systems before the A.M. workout,
as is custom, but mistakenly placed it outside.
In the course of an hour, the system was frozen
solid and was brought back inside the locker
room and given a warm shower to thaw.
The HITMEN would be prudent to follow that remedy
on Wednesday when freezing rain is expected
during the day. Otherwise, all that’s missing
from the human popsickle recipe is some food
coloring and sugar.
Since this is the first time the entire 70-man
roster has been together, the coaching staff
is not alone in their efforts to become acquainted
with the players.
It seems that the HITMEN have formed an unofficial
“players lounge” in the Kean University auxiliary
gym. Players congregate on the gym floor before
the morning and afternoon workouts, where they
relax, stretch and share war stories of their
“It’s an opportunity to hang out with the guys,”
said offensive guard David Camacho. “We tell
our tall tales about football, life and of course,
women. It’s a good way to learn about your teammates.”
Although Day 2 mini-camp workouts were again
conducted in helmets and sweats, there was plenty
of contact when the offense and defense squared
off against each other during drills. The combination
of increased testosterone levels and fierce
competition for roster spots led to more than
a few scuffles, especially between the offensive
and defensive linemen.
“The guys were banging each other around hard,”
coach Edwin Bailey observed. “From the sounds
of things, you would think that we were in full
Wide out Obidiah Cooper made two acrobatic catches
during 7-on-7 drills, while defensive back Tyree
Talton stood out for his coverage skills, blanketing
HITMEN receivers and breaking up several pass
Linebacker Ben Hanks dropped a sure interception
during the full scrimmage, but Tim Beauchamp
made the most of his opportunity to get his
hands on the ball. The defensive end picked
off a Kevin Mason screen pass with one hand
and took it 40-yards to the house for a score.
While Beauchamp’s defensive teammates celebrated,
fellow defensive end Israel Raybon was visibly
upset. “I just left the field,” Raybon said
to the winded Beauchamp, with tongue in cheek.
“You made that play because I was out, otherwise
I’m the one reporters want to talk to.”
Something tells us that Raybon will search out
a microphone or notepad to get a word in, no
matter who makes a play.
The HITMEN will hold mini-camp practices each
day throughout the week (Wednesday-Sunday) at
8:30-10:00 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. All practices
are open to the public and media. Please note:
There will be no afternoon session on Sunday.
Please note that practice times may change due
Notes from - [Day
1 | Day 2 | Day
3 | Day
4 | Day